By Richardson Ogwezzy
I was having a little sigh of relief when I heard that, Mr. President, President Muhammadu Buhari will address Nigerians by 7:00 pm on the 22nd of October, 2020. I was having the feeling that the Presidential address will focus on main issues at stake in bringing hope to Nigerians, but the reverse was the case.
Firstly, his address, looks stale and passive, with little or no emphasis on the contemporary issues at hand. The address that was expected to focus on issues of present demands of Nigerians was focusing mostly on the past administrative achievements of little or no emphasises made with regards to the country’ situation. I saw no correlation between his address and clear demands of the boiling youths’ protest.
The Presidential address has a tendency to aggravate the temper and the tempo of the protest. He was talking of paying three months salaries of N30,000 for Micro, Small and Medium enterprises, N30,000 grant to artisans, Farmermoni and Marketmoni. The question is; how many Nigerian youths benefited from the programme? Was there equitable distribution of the benefits? The N-Power, N-Teach, N-Agro programmes that started very well as relief packages to Nigerian graduates have recently been politicised. The recent N Power jobs have been hijacked by high level politicians. That is what they count as jobs for Nigerian youths. You see, the mentality of the average Nigerian political leader over the youths: a job of N30,000 for just two years is what they called employment. The most disheartening aspects of it, is that the jobs meant for youths, they are bound to go and beg the politicians for their own rights.
Another saddening aspects of it all, is that, he(The President) asserts that, ” No Nigeria government in the past has methodically and seriously approached poverty-alleviation like what he has done”. What will see here is government giving relief packages and not employment, because there is, neither job security nor satisfaction.
In the past administration, there were relative peace in their regimes. The protest that is, ravaging the country, placing the nation in imbroglio, is first of its kind. It is a cumulative events and circumstances that brought all of us to this tragic point, especially in the area of national insecurity which have never been in the annals of national history. So, there is no basis for Mr President to compare his administration with the past regimes because, it is imponderable. The President of Federal Republic of Nigeria, was oblivious of the fact that, many people sacrificed their lives for our National Independence. Citizens dying now, are dying for what?
The Nigeria situation has come to a point where youths have chosen rather to die to bring about a change than to live peacefully in the country, where all hallow values are upside down.
The bad governance in this country should not only be attributed to PMB alone, but to a great extent to those, who work very closely with him. Take a cursory look of the address, you will discover that, there is little or no substance that reflects to his good achievements in terms of his developmental projects. Only ephemeral and immaterial relief packages that under-rates him(PMB) were mentioned.
Instead, his Special Assistance that packaged that speech began to bore Nigerians with trivial issues of the highly politicised N-Power, Farmermoni, etc This made his speech counter productive and more of adding insult into injury.
Apart from that, the President’s speech has not explicitly addressed the cases of people that lost their lives, stating government’s commitment to the families of the bereaved in this struggle for emancipation of our dear country.
What President Muhammadu Buhari, is expected to do is to address the key issues as presented by the Nigerian youths. He should make categorical statements(promises) on each point raised. Most importantly, promises that address the issues of Police Brutality in Nigeria, youths’ unemployment and so on, as enumerated in their demands.
Apart from that, the cases of people that lost their lives, because provision of such was not included in the youths’ demands. It therefore, becomes imperative that the Federal Government should make adequate provision for families that lost their lives in the struggle of our nation’s freedom, irrespective of their numbers.
I observed that many State Governors are beginning to set the pace for the Federal Government and other States of the Federation. The Governor that always sets a good pace for others to follow, His Excellency, Prof. Ben Ayade, the governor of Cross River State, has recently declared job opportunities for 20,000 Cross Riverians and free tuition fees for students in the State University. No wonder the State is always calm. I have been saying it before now, that the wisdom of this Pacesetter Governor is not only at State level but national. In fact, without gainsaying, he has characteristics(features) of a Presidential Candidate. He was the first Governor that got the insights of what Nigerian youths need, because he is a man that has the understanding of the time.This is worthy of emulation. It will be a thing of great joy if other State Governors take a leaf from him. Let no Governor be reminded on what to do, as a Governor, you are expected to be innovative and creative in performance.
In sum, the President’s address has failed to aptly address the cardinal issues at stake, it is my candid opinion and I think am speaking the minds of many Nigerians that, a second edition of the address should be packaged to properly and positively focus on the comprehensive demands of the populace.
I pray Almighty God to see Nigerians through with respect to their demands.
Richardson Ogwezzy in solidarity writes from Emu-Kingdom in Delta State